Book Review: The Martian Chronicles by Bradbury (2.5 Stars)

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

2.5 out of 5 stars

Recommended by the GoodReads SciFi/Fantasy Book Club August 2009 Selection

Read in August, 2009

Synopsis (courtesy Wikipedia):

The Martian Chronicles is a 1950 science fiction short story collection by Ray Bradbury that chronicles the colonization of Mars by humans fleeing from a troubled and eventually atomically devastated Earth, and the conflict between aboriginal Martians and the new colonists. The book lies somewhere between a short story collection and an episodic novel, containing stories Bradbury originally published in the late 1940s in science fiction magazines. The stories were loosely woven together with a series of short, interstitial vignettes for publication.

My Thoughts:

This collection of stories about Mars reminded me of Edgar Rice Burroughs stories. But where Burroughs entertained with adventures and action, Bradbury expounded on various themes, mostly anti-war and anti-establishment.

The science in this fictional work played bit parts, merely a vehicle to get to a theater of operations far removed from old Earth. A place where scenarios about preserving nature and archeological sites had paramount value. A place where minorities could start anew without the yoke of their oppressors dragging them through the dust. A place where the past could be preserved at the expense of Martian sanity.

Rockets and atomic radio epitomized the Earth technological achievements. The Martians were vulnerable due to their telepathy and inward focus. Even less believable was the travel time to and from Earth — unrealistically short considering the vast distances and plotting the different orbits of Earth and Mars to take advantage of launch windows.

I skimmed many of these stories, I admit. I was either bored or frustrated. Some of them shine, like the tale about Spender and the one towards the end of the collection about the house running on autopilot. Otherwise, I’d sooner forget I read them.

GR Status Updates:

07/29/2009 page 1 0.55%
07/29/2009 page 9 4.95% “Rocket Summer January 1999 – quaint”
07/29/2009 page 31 17.03% “Earth Men, insanity, reality, hallucinations and irony.”
07/30/2009 page 45 24.73% “Family and Friends of the Third Expedition to Mars.”
07/31/2009 page 53 29.12% “The Fourth Expedition to Mars.”
07/31/2009 page 66 36.26% “Spender on evolution v. religion.” 2 comments
07/31/2009 page 102 56.04% “The Frustration of Samuel Teece.”
08/02/2009 page 118 64.84% “The rise and fall of the House of Usher, Take Two”
08/02/2009 page 131 71.98% “A Martian for all Earth Men?”
08/02/2009 page 182 100.0%

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